There is a little-known technology that exists on a lot of TVs out there called CEC. It shows up and is helpful in ways most people either take for granted or simply don’t realize.
Today, I want to show you how to use it to do something really cool.
Do you have the ability to power on your TV through your satellite or cable remote without any setup? Adjust your TV’s volume without ever programming the controller?
CEC is how that happens.
What is CEC?
Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) is a feature of HDMI designed to allow users to command and control up to 15 devices connected through HDMI by using only one remote control (for example by controlling a television set, set-top box, and DVD player using only the remote control of the TV). CEC also allows for individual CEC-enabled devices to command and control each other without user intervention.
It allows certain commands to travel via HDMI from one device to another. So, when you hit power on your DirecTV box, it sends out that ‘power on’ signal to the TV in the event that the TV isn’t on.
As you can imagine, things like volume and playback can be toggled via this communication, so its use is varied and hard to pin down sometimes. And though it has been in play since 2008, most people don’t even know it exists.
How Chromecast and Google Home Can Use It
The cool thing we can do with a Chromecast and Google Home unit is power on your TV and begin playback with only your voice. Additionally, there is no need for any further keywords or hotwords. Simply talk to your Google Home as you would with your television already powered on.
Around our house, we’ve named the main living room Chromecast ‘The Big TV’ so the kids can use it easily and quickly. So, with the TV off, all they have to say is, ‘Hey Google, play Peppa Pig on the big TV.’ Once they do, the TV powers on and begins playback.
No buttons, no remotes, no phones.
Obviously, this applies to any device you can cast from. Even with your TV powered down, you can cast from a phone, tablet or laptop and watch your TV power up and begin playing.
One Big Requirement
Many TVs (mine included) don’t keep the USB port powered on when the TV is powered off. If that is the case and you have your Chromecast powered via USB from your TV, this method won’t work. What you need to do in this case is actually keep your Chromecast plugged into the wall via the included wall block.
If your TV keeps USB power alive when shut down, you don’t have to worry about this.
I hope this both helps in your home and shines light on an oft-neglected and forgotten in-home tech. If nothing else, once you have this set up and running, it feels like the future. Happy casting!